Erlanger police hires social worker to attack roots of crime

ERLANGER, Ky. -- Police Lt. John Sterling knows the frustration of responding to the same calls over and over again.

"There is something aggravating about repetitive calls because there may be things that people need that they may not be able to take the steps to correct," Sterling said.

But the Erlanger police department's newest program is aimed to fix this.

"The root cause could be mental illness, it could be drug addiction," said Becky Strouse.

As Erlanger police’s new social worker, Strouse's job is to help people work through these problems. In her two months on the job, she has already followed up on dozens of calls related to mental illness, drug abuse and domestic violence.

"For example, there was a domestic violence situation where we had been called multiple times in a three-day time frame. And then we were able to get the mom and the children out of the home and get them placed into a safe place," Strouse said.

Alexandria was the first police department in Kentucky to hire a social worker, and now Erlanger is the second.

Sterling believes the new role will help his efforts as a police officer to go even further.

"If someone can step in and do something that's going to take it and put that person's life in the right direction, then absolutely, 100 percent, it helps everybody," he said.

And the police department has already identified 37 families that could benefit from a follow-up visit – and that’s in just two weeks.

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